I haven't been in Leiden for very long, but I already know that it's a great place to be. In a way, it's like living in the Twin Cities. When you come to Minnesota without being Minnesotan, you're probably not sure what the Twin Cities has to offer as far as things to do. Maybe you heard about the really active theater climate, but that's kind of expensive to do and there isn't always a matinee to attend. So what do you do during the day?
Leiden was very similar for me, as someone who has never been to the Netherlands before and is not even a little bit Dutch. I had never heard of Leiden before I started looking for study abroad programs. Even when I was on the plane heading to Amsterdam, I wondered to myself, "What is there to do?" I'm not one for night life, so I need things to do during the day.
Turns out, there's plenty to do! Except for Mondays, when most of the museums are closed, we've found out. Eventually I'll talk about the things I have found to do around Leiden, but right now, I just want to introduce you to where I live right now.
|Of course there are canals everywhere! It wouldn't |
be a Dutch city without the canals. Well, it probably
would be, but I haven't been around the Netherlands
too much yet.
Leiden is a busy college town. We've realized many times over that there's usually something going on, you just have to look for it. Last night when we were wandering around in search of a restaurant to eat dinner at, the girls in my program and our friend from Chile ran into this street fair type of place. It's in front of the Pieterskerk (church), so it's not here all the time we know. We think that it was part of Leiden University's orientation week. There were tons of food vendors. You'd think that there would be Dutch food everywhere, but you might be surprised to know that the Dutch don't really have a cuisine. Kind of like the U.S. The U.S. is considered to be a melting pot, so when I'm asked what kind of cuisine we have, I'm really at a loss of what to say. The Netherlands is kind of a country of the rest of the world. You can find Indonesian food, Thai food, West African food, and a lot of other different types of food, but I have yet to find a Dutch restaurant (bakeries don't really count, though we do have a Freesian bakery near us).
I've started taking pictures more consistently, so I just want to share some of my favorites with you:
|Canal at sun down. I'm very lucky.|
|In the corner is Kristen (Central College), Isadora (Masters student at Leiden University), and Abby (Central College).|
|Canal this morning when I went on a bit of a ride. It's next to Rembrandtpark.|
|There you go, proof that I'm actually here!|
|A replica of the windmill Rembrandt's father might have|
Well, this is my home for the next four and a half or so months!
Thanks for Reading! Tot Ziens!